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JAZZ ROCK/FUSION

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Jazz Rock/Fusion definition


  1. Jazz Fusion is jazz that is strongly influenced by other styles of music. Jazz fusion is an ambiguous term that provides the first level sub-set down from Jazz. Jazz rock is a sub-sub set from jazz via jazz fusion. The ambiguity comes from an American tendency through the 90's and until now, to freely interchange jazz rock and jazz fusion, when in fact the latter term covers most hybrids of jazz fused with other forms of music. The roots of jazz rock can be traced back to RnB influenced soul-jazz artists such as Les McCann, Grant Green and Jimmy Smith, and young British jazzers such as Graham Bond, Ginger Baker, John McLaughlin, Jack Bruce, Georgie Fame, who were forced to use electronic instruments because the local club's acoustic instruments were reserved for the older established jazz musicians. Probably the first jazz artists that released recordings that mixed modern rock (circa 60s) with jazz were Larry Coryell, Jeremy Steig, Charles Lloyd, The Soft Machine, and The (Jazz) Crusaders. Meanwhile rock artists such as Cream, Grateful Dead and The Jimi Hendrix Experience were getting a lot of publicity and fame with their lengthy improvisations based on blues, rock, psychedelia and some jazz. These rock artists had an impact on Miles Davis who generated a lot of media attention to this new jazz-rock genre with his Bitches Brew album. From there the genre grew and exploded into numerous different directions. One of these directions was brass rock as exemplified by bands like Dreams, Chicago, BS&T and If. These bands combined elements of jazz, rock and classical music with arrangements for brass and woodwinds.

  2. Many other styles of music have been combined with jazz to create fusion including traditional music from around the world, R'n'B, rock, electronic music and pop music and jazz from Africa, Latin America, India and other places. One of the earliest examples of the use of the term fusion comes from the Indo-jazz fusion of Joe Harriott and John Mayer. Some of the more popular early practitioners of fusion included Weather Report and Herbie Hancock's Sextant. A few years later Shakti appears on the scene and expands the boundaries of fusion further, foreshadowing the World Fusion movement of the 90's.

  3. In part Nu.jazz grew out of the British acid jazz scene of the late 80s and early 90s, whilst modern leaders of nu.fusion cite Miles Davis and Jon Hassell as the godfathers of the genre. As the genre began to develop it took on other influences such as world beat/jazz fusion, psychedelic trip-hop, post-rock and mixtures of ambience with modern jazz. The jazz with electronia experiments that Jon Hassell was conducting in the late 80's, with the likes of Eno, were to be a major influence especially on the dance side of nu.jazz, sometimes known as nu.fusion. Three main elements make nu.jazz different from the more traditional jazz (rock) fusion. First of all there is less of an emphasis on instrumental virtuosity in nu.jazz (especially nu.fusion). Second, more use of electronics (especially skilled turntablism) and studio trickery that emphasizes sound textures. Third, nu.jazz tends to use more modern rhythms such as drum'n'bass, hip-hop, post-rock, and various mixtures of world beat rhythms. Progressive nu.jazz artists such as Bugge Wesseltoft, Nils Petter Molvaer and the Esbjörn Svensson Trio (E.S.T.), combine complicated compositions with modern rhythms to create new unheard of soundscapes - while the former two are leaders of nu.fusion, and with more emphasis on jazz playing, EST have been the leaders in straighter nu.jazz. Nu.jazz is loosely connected to other newer jazz fusion genres, particularly the more progressive live, jazz jam bands such as Medeski Martin & Wood or Garaj Mahal. It may seem that the only difference between the two genres is the country the artist is from or what scene they came up through.li>

Only the most progressive of nu jazz, jazz-rock and fusion artists are listed on Progarchives, although accceptability or not here may vary from person to person. All artists have elements of progressive rock in their music (e.g. Jean Luc Ponty, Bill Bruford or David Sancious) or they represent the most forward-looking and progressive element in their genre (e.g. Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock or Weather Report). It should be noted that those many Canterbury jazz rock fusion bands, e.g. Soft Machine, Soft Works, Soft Heap, Soft Machine Legacy, Gilgamesh etc. are to be found under the CANTERBURY heading in Prog Archives.

Dick Heath
John 'Easy Money'
Martin 'Alucard' Horst
(Edition 3.2. Nov 2009)

Current Team Members as at 12/24/14

Evolver (Scott)
Man With Hat (Phil)
Darkshade (Mike)
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Jazz Rock/Fusion Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Jazz Rock/Fusion | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.36 | 892 ratings
KIND OF BLUE
Davis, Miles
4.33 | 1130 ratings
BIRDS OF FIRE
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.30 | 621 ratings
IN A SILENT WAY
Davis, Miles
4.28 | 501 ratings
SPECTRUM
Cobham, Billy
4.44 | 74 ratings
THE COLOURS OF CHLOË
Weber, Eberhard
4.30 | 229 ratings
WE'LL TALK ABOUT IT LATER
Nucleus
4.26 | 851 ratings
THE INNER MOUNTING FLAME
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.26 | 584 ratings
ROMANTIC WARRIOR
Return To Forever
4.29 | 246 ratings
HIROMI'S SONICBLOOM: TIME CONTROL
Uehara, Hiromi
4.25 | 599 ratings
BITCHES BREW
Davis, Miles
4.24 | 707 ratings
ELEGANT GYPSY
Di Meola, Al
4.24 | 496 ratings
ABRAXAS
Santana
4.23 | 622 ratings
CARAVANSERAI
Santana
4.30 | 138 ratings
A BENEFIT OF RADIM HLADÍK [AKA: MODRÝ EFEKT & RADIM HLADÍK]
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.27 | 221 ratings
LES PORCHES
Maneige
4.30 | 137 ratings
MILESTONES
Davis, Miles
4.30 | 131 ratings
STADACONÉ
Sloche
4.31 | 116 ratings
SVěT HLEDAčů
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.23 | 282 ratings
ENIGMATIC OCEAN
Ponty, Jean-Luc
4.28 | 130 ratings
SVITANIE
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.25 | 177 ratings
MAIDEN VOYAGE
Hancock, Herbie
4.24 | 206 ratings
PAT METHENY GROUP: THE WAY UP
Metheny , Pat
4.23 | 272 ratings
CROSSINGS
Hancock, Herbie
4.36 | 67 ratings
L'AXE DU FOU
Forgas Band Phenomena
4.21 | 331 ratings
VALENTYNE SUITE
Colosseum
4.23 | 172 ratings
TILT - IMMAGINI PER UN ORECCHIO
Arti e Mestieri
4.27 | 116 ratings
'ROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT
Davis, Miles
4.30 | 88 ratings
BIG FUN
Davis, Miles
4.40 | 49 ratings
QUALIA
Syrinx
4.67 | 23 ratings
REALIZATION
Henderson, Eddie
4.23 | 146 ratings
HARAKKA BIALOIPOKKU [AKA: B THE MAGPIE]
Pohjola, Pekka
4.50 | 33 ratings
TERJE RYPDAL
Rypdal, Terje
4.28 | 80 ratings
DARK SHOT
One Shot
4.20 | 185 ratings
A TRIBUTE TO JACK JOHNSON
Davis, Miles
4.69 | 21 ratings
Вижу Землю / LOOKING AT THE EARTH
Gunesh Ensemble
4.20 | 159 ratings
J'UN OEIL
Sloche
4.23 | 108 ratings
PAT METHENY GROUP: OFFRAMP
Metheny , Pat
4.20 | 152 ratings
MYSTICAL ADVENTURES
Ponty, Jean-Luc
4.16 | 284 ratings
HYMN OF THE SEVENTH GALAXY
Return To Forever
4.22 | 106 ratings
MILES DAVIS QUINTET: MILES SMILES
Davis, Miles
4.24 | 90 ratings
DEDALUS
Dedalus
4.32 | 53 ratings
LEB I SOL 2
Leb I Sol
4.17 | 167 ratings
WHAT IF
Dixie Dregs
4.16 | 207 ratings
WHERE HAVE I KNOWN YOU BEFORE
Return To Forever
4.32 | 51 ratings
AGITOR LUCENS V
Arco Iris
4.26 | 67 ratings
ORGANIK
Niacin
4.14 | 236 ratings
AJA
Steely Dan
4.16 | 173 ratings
THE LOST TRIDENT SESSIONS
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.19 | 118 ratings
SECRET STORY
Metheny , Pat
4.31 | 52 ratings
EWAZ VADER
One Shot
4.13 | 333 ratings
SANTANA
Santana
4.28 | 58 ratings
JAN HAMMER GROUP: OH,YEAH?
Hammer, Jan
4.37 | 40 ratings
SUDAMÉRICA O EL REGRESO A LA AURORA
Arco Iris
4.28 | 59 ratings
DEDICATED TO YOU, BUT YOU WEREN'T LISTENING
Tippett Group, Keith
4.15 | 189 ratings
FAIRYPORT
Wigwam
4.32 | 48 ratings
FABULIS MIRABILIBUS DE BOMBYCOSI SCRIPTIS
Kenso
4.22 | 72 ratings
ALMA DE DIAMANTE
Spinetta Jade
4.20 | 79 ratings
INDÍGENA
Mar de Robles
4.17 | 99 ratings
PAT METHENY & LYLE MAYS: AS FALLS WICHITA, SO FALLS WICHITA FALLS
Metheny , Pat
4.13 | 169 ratings
QUANTUM
Planet X
4.24 | 60 ratings
RAHMANN
Rahmann
4.10 | 307 ratings
UNORTHODOX BEHAVIOUR
Brand X
4.10 | 276 ratings
BRUFORD: ONE OF A KIND
Bruford, Bill
4.42 | 29 ratings
THE HOOK
Tolonen, Jukka
4.13 | 157 ratings
CHICAGO [AKA: CHICAGO II]
Chicago
4.19 | 78 ratings
SENTIMENTS
Iceberg
4.12 | 155 ratings
SEXTANT
Hancock, Herbie
4.21 | 64 ratings
FERMÁTA
Fermáta
4.19 | 73 ratings
4TH
D.F.A.
4.34 | 35 ratings
SPEAK NO EVIL
Shorter, Wayne
4.18 | 79 ratings
PIHKASILMÄ KAARNAKORVA
Pohjola, Pekka
4.15 | 103 ratings
MILES DAVIS QUINTET: NEFERTITI
Davis, Miles
4.12 | 152 ratings
VISITATION
Pohjola, Pekka
4.82 | 13 ratings
GUILLAUME PERRET & THE ELECTRIC EPIC
Guillaume Perret & the Electric Epic
4.28 | 44 ratings
CRNA DAMA [AKA: BLACK LADY]
Smak
4.23 | 56 ratings
BELIEVE IT
Williams Lifetime, Tony
4.32 | 36 ratings
UOMA
Uzva
4.09 | 225 ratings
BLOW BY BLOW
Beck, Jeff
4.62 | 17 ratings
AD PERPETUUM
Fafard, Antoine
4.11 | 146 ratings
MASQUES
Brand X
4.24 | 48 ratings
YELLOW FIELDS
Weber, Eberhard
4.16 | 81 ratings
LAMBERTLAND
Tasavallan Presidentti
4.41 | 26 ratings
SIMILARITY
Eyot
4.12 | 116 ratings
MANEIGE
Maneige
4.11 | 131 ratings
METAL FATIGUE
Holdsworth, Allan
4.47 | 22 ratings
THE FOLLOWING MORNING
Weber, Eberhard
4.07 | 231 ratings
MOROCCAN ROLL
Brand X
4.24 | 45 ratings
RUCNI RAD
Leb I Sol
4.18 | 61 ratings
CONTRE-COURANT
Opus-5
4.18 | 64 ratings
STRAIGHT TO THE KRANKENHAUS
Secret Oyster
4.53 | 19 ratings
HALLUCINATION ENGINE
Material
4.22 | 50 ratings
LOS ELEMENTALES
Arco Iris
4.45 | 22 ratings
RITES
Garbarek, Jan
4.11 | 109 ratings
EROTIC CAKES
Govan, Guthrie
4.40 | 25 ratings
DIUMENGE
Companyia Elèctrica Dharma
4.11 | 108 ratings
HUASCARAN
Fermáta
4.14 | 76 ratings
WATERCOLORS
Metheny , Pat
4.15 | 73 ratings
KING CRIMSON SONGBOOK, VOLUME ONE
Crimson Jazz Trio
4.13 | 76 ratings
PORGY AND BESS
Davis, Miles
4.23 | 41 ratings
GATEWAY
Abercrombie, John

Jazz Rock/Fusion overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Jazz Rock/Fusion experts team

HERBIE HANCOCK & FODAY MUSA SUSO: VILLAGE LIFE
Hancock, Herbie
A STORY OF MYSTERIOUS FOREST
Ain Soph
LAWRENCE OF NEWARK
Young, Larry
STRANGE MEETING
Power Tools

Latest Jazz Rock/Fusion Music Reviews


 Demo by KARI BAND album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Demo
Kari Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

— First review of this album —
4 stars I see, that's the reason why the stage by Babymetal should be pretty cool and awesome. At first let me say thanks to Alan (a Babymetal fan in US) for notifying me of such a fantastic combo. Yes I know, I'm a Japanese and why not familiar with Babymetal, but to be honest I've not got interested in them at all, except in their crazy stage. KARI BAND, three session musicians with mad technique, are a backing outfit supporting Babymetal's entire artistic sense especially upon stage. Such an incredible sense has been launched via this ep released upon April 26, 2017 finally, I'm so glad really.

Actually knocked out in a complete manner. Let me shout first of all that another King Crimson have come here. Strictly based upon jazz itself, they play complex songs of cadence like a precision music / rhythm machine with sound diversity. "Jamrika" or so reminds me of Tipographica or Unbeltipo, kinda avantgarde jazz rock. On the contrary, "Djentleman" is in the same vein of slush art metal, flooded with deeply metallic, complicated riffs and swift, grievous guitar crying. Thrilling fights amongst all instruments can be heard everywhere, and we the audience cannot listen with enough breathing until the last "Snowflakes" that features clean smooth jazz rock elements along with their magnificent instrumental skills and critical motivation.

It's a pity the debut 26 minute ep is not a full-length album but an intriguing alliance by the intensive trio should create this not only short but also impressive stuff. Cannot help keeping an 'ear' upon them from now on.

 Bruford: Feels Good To Me by BRUFORD, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.95 | 181 ratings

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Bruford: Feels Good To Me
Bill Bruford Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by macpurity

5 stars This recording was released 40 years ago! It will soon have a new remastered release later this year as a 6CD, 2DVD box set. So, it seems only fitting that another review be added to honor this rather phenomenal piece of jazz-rock art. If anything, to alert other Bruford fans that new mixes and remasters are on the way. The boxed set will feature this recording, One Of A Kind, The Bruford Tapes and Gradually Going Tornado, along with some other select special additions. It cna be found through a web search and/or a visit to a web site having to do with a scorched outbuilding.

Previous reviews truly hit all the marks, even the not so glowing ones. I can relate to some of the misgivings, but as a whole, the compositions are about as complex as permitted in music theory textbooks. Bruford and company push the envelope in terms of rhythms and compositions.

Bruford's percussion is (ahem) flawless, The late Allan Holdsworth's guitar work is still fun to listen to, including those on-purpose notes that almost sound like errors. No such thing in Allan's delivery. The bass of Jeff Berlin is tight, on the money, and possesses phrasing that rank among the best bassists. Absolutely love Dave Stewart's keyboards and synth sounds. He's a master; as can also be appreciated in his work with Barbara Gaskin. Annette Peacock's vocals do take some adapting to, but once you gain familiarity with the music, you appreciate her style, range and presence. Then throw in Kenny Wheeler's flugelhorn for good measure and some smoothness (especially on Seems Like A Lifetime Ago Part I). With co-production by Robin Lumley, it is a conglomeration of shear mastery.

I bought this one, the first time, brand new, without any in-store listening, in 1977 on vinyl. On forst listen, it knocked my socks off. I played that album a lot through the years and nearly wore it out. Thankfully, I re-purchased it on CD 13 years later, in 1990, and once again enjoyed clear digital sound. This coming October (2017), I look forward to becoming re-familiar with this recording (and others in the box-set), some in the delights of 5.1 DTS surround. So glad that Bill Bruford encouraged a 2017 re-engineering of some representative jazz rock from forty years ago. Seems Like a Lifetime Ago! Indeed!

 Music Magic by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.73 | 81 ratings

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Music Magic
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402

2 stars Another shakeup in the Return to Forever lineup, this time Al DiMeola and Lenny White departing. Chick Corea's wife Gayle Moran joins (she was previously with the second edition of Mahavishnu Orchestra for two albums), and Joe Farrell from the original 1972-73 lineup rejoins, as well as a horn section. Now this probably wasn't the wisest decision for Chick Corea to go this direction so hot on the heels of Romantic Warrior, which not only a highly regarded in RTF's and even Chick's career in general, but of the fusion genre to begin with. Upon listening to "The Musician" it's as if Chick was trying to meld the vocal style of Light as a Feather with a horn section. It's as if he was pretending his wife was Flora Purim as she attempts her vocal style. Unfortunately she's no Flora Purim, and thankfully she didn't touch on Brazilian styles of music (Bossa Nova, for example). Light as a Feather proves that vocals and jazz can go together, but then Flora Purim was suited for such, given her background as a Bossa Nova singer, and that influence was heavily felt in that album (as well as the 1972 RTF on ECM billed as a Chick Corea album) and those two albums were great and highly recommended. Here on MusicMagic it's a like a big mess. There are some pretty syrupy stuff here, for example "Hello Again". What on Earth? Pretty cheesy stuff. Or Stanley Clarke's "So Long Mickey Mouse". What on Earth? A bunch of "La la's" throughout with him attempting to do soulful vocals, and Gayle Moran being, well, Gayle Moran. On the other hand, there are some absolutely brilliant passages, some of the solos Chick Corea give are first rate, with that nice spacy keyboards and often proggy arrangement and even the horn section does some creative twists and turns as long as they aren't sounding like a Las Vegas lounge act. The last song, "The Endless Light" is perhaps the best thing on the album, overall, where the vocals and instrumentation work the best. I never could understand what the lyrics were about. Perhaps being a Scientologist would make more sense (Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Gayle Moran, at least, were all Scientologists). I can see why this is panned in many circles. I could have seen the potential in this album, some of those instrumental passages are as great as anything they've done before, but when the vocals kick in, it all comes crashing, and same if the horns decide to go Vegas on us. Luckily my copy is a cheap used LP, and if you need to get this, I suggest you get it cheap. It's too bad RTF ended up the way they did. I can sorta understand why Chick wanted to include vocals, since Gayle Moran already provided vocals on his two previous solo albums, My Spanish Heart and The Leprechaun, so he thought it would be great to include them on then next RTF album. For the simple fact that until this point, RTF never released a bad album (Chick Corea knew to keep the standards high on those albums) so making MusicMagic all that more disappointing. Scientology can be easy to blame. At least this was the end of RTF (although there was a live album released in 1978). So as mentioned, has its moments, but only get this on the cheap.
 Irgendwo...Nicht Weit Von Hier...Wir by NANU URWERK album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.87 | 4 ratings

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Irgendwo...Nicht Weit Von Hier...Wir
Nanu Urwerk Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars NANU URWERK released this lone album back in 1978 and most detect a Canterbury vibe because this is a fairly subtle style of Jazz with plenty of flute, sax and trombone besides the usual instruments. There's no guitar but the electric piano and bass are what impress me the most about this album and thankfully those two instruments dominate. There are some vocals and vocal melodies but for the most part this is an instrumental album. I'm surprised that it took me four listens to even start liking this recording but again it's fairly laid back overall and it took some time for it's subtleties to rise to the top for me. I so enjoy the overall mood of this record. And there is that Krautrock spirit at times but for me this is a Jazz/ Rock record.

"Hier Und Jetzt, Jungs" is a top three for me. Talk about subtle, this one starts out with cymbals and some relaxed beats along with electric piano and bass. What a beautiful melody right here, just gorgeous. Percussion comes to the fore after 5 minutes as the bass and electric piano continue. Drums are back after 7 minutes. "Ungrad" is a short 2 1/2 minute song that starts with a horn, piano and more before the flute arrives around a minute then it settles back. I like this a lot with the atmosphere adding to my enjoyment. So much going on late.

"Die Holzauber" is another top three tune for me. Drums, electric piano, bass and atmosphere to start. I like the mood here as it starts to pick up before a minute and vocal melodies join in. So good! Spoken words replace the vocal melodies as the bass becomes more prominent. This has a determined sound to it. Vocal melodies are back before 3 1/2 minutes. Sax replaces them before 4 minutes changing the dynamic somewhat. Catchy stuff. Vocal melodies are back late to end it.

"Give It A Try" might be a short song but it's my final top three. Vocal melodies and piano lead the way to begin with but soon he's singing. I just really enjoy this one. "Nanu" is the longest track at 12 1/2 minutes. It sounds like wind chimes and e-piano to start as the bass joins in. Eventually pulsating keys lead the way with bass and percussion-like sounds. I like the bass 4 1/2 minutes in and that atmosphere bringing Krautrock to mind. The tempo picks up a minute later as drums come to the fore and the pulsating keys continue. Flute 6 minutes in. So good! It's building as the bass returns. Soon it settles to a smooth sound as the sax and flute take turns leading the rest of the way.

"Zhawoh" has a jazzy start with e-piano, a beat and bass. There's a kind of lame melody to my ears that arrives but that changes when it quickly gets fuller. This happens again later on. "Der Illusionist-Der Clown" is pretty much trombone and piano throughout.

A solid 4 stars in my opinion with some real high points, and really it's only the way it ends with the last two tracks that makes me settle on four stars and nothing higher. No Funk here either which is surprising for a late seventies release.

 No Mystery by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.72 | 137 ratings

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No Mystery
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars To me, No Mystery is a bit of an oddity in the RTF catalog. It's clear on side one (the first five cuts, if you own the CD) the band was exploring funk, with a little disco thrown in. It's still unmistakably fusion, though, so if you like fusion, it shouldn't bother you too much, but maybe for the more prog inclined, it might, although Al DiMeola's "Flight of the Newborn" is the most proggy thing on side one, more resembling something off Al's late '70s material (the more proggy stuff, not the flamenco stuff) from Land of the Midnight Sun or Elegant Gypsy. "Excerpt From the First Movement of Heavy Metal" gets me scratching my head. What's metal about this? Of course I understand Chick Corea and the boys would never play heavy metal, but what about the rest of the First Movement, and perhaps several other movements? Was there supposed to be a Heavy Metal Suite? Regardless, it's more of the funky stuff the guys were exploring on that side. I suppose it was Lenny White steering the band in a more funky direction as a lot of it brings to mind his first solo album Venusian Summer, released later the same year (1975). Side two is a different story. Here they're going for a much more prog-oriented direction. To my ears they actually sound like Romantic Warrior sessions, even though this predates that album by a year, but it's clear as a bell where they were already heading on this side. The music is much more complex, there's almost Gentle Giant-like moves at times. All this culminates with the two part "Celebration Suite". Side two is very much worth it for the proggers, especially if they enjoy Romantic Warrior. I can see while why this album still gets favorable reviews, it's not as highly regarded as the other three with Lenny White (Al DiMeola wasn't on Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy). Mainly because the funky material they do here may not appeal to every proghead, and that disco on "Jungle Waterfall" may make many wonder if they sold out. Luckily they didn't, and that was their only disco song here. For the more prog inclined, listen to side two, it's amazing stuff, foreseeing what they'll be doing on Romantic Warrior. Side one is still quite enjoyable, but less complex and less prog. Still worth getting.
 Krokofant II by KROKOFANT album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.26 | 8 ratings

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Krokofant II
Krokofant Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars KROKOFANT are a young trio out of Norway consisting of drums, sax and guitar. This is album number two for the boys who play a heavy, avant style of Jazz that is both improvized and structured. The debut simply blew me away with how insane it could be at times. I actually gave it a spin earlier this week to compare the two albums and found the debut to be much more extreme with more guitar. Now normally I'd prefer the more tamer sound of "II" but man the debut had me actually laughing out loud at times with how "out there" it got. I mean the guitar, sax and drums all go beyond where most bands would fear to tread, if they could even play the kind of complex music that this band offers.

"C.O.T.A." hits the ground running with honking sax and drums. Soon a sax melody arrives that I'm not that into. Contrasts continue until just before 3 1/2 minutes when it calms right down with drums only then some bluesy guitar arrives that soon changes to a complex style as the drums pound away. The sax is back before 6 1/2 minutes replacing the guitar to the end.

"Sail Ahead" is another uptempo number with sax and drums leading the way. It settles just before 2 minutes then the sax turns dissonant after 3 1/2 minutes. Sax only a minute later but not for long as the drums come rumbling in. "Nieu" opens with the guitar and sax ripping it up. A very interesting sound here as it is very avant sounding. The sax becomes melodic after 1 1/2 minutes as the guitar is replaced by the drums. Some crazy sax before 5 1/2 minutes.

"The Ship" is led by sax and drums to begin with and the sax gets pretty creative at times. A calm before 5 minutes with drums only then the guitar starts to solo. Just a shred-fest after 6 minutes then the sax is back late. "Snake Dog" is my favourite song on here. I just like that intro with guitar and drums that is repeated throughout. It's contrasted with a section that includes dissonant sax and those passages dominate. Guitar, sax and drums all let their hair down after 4 minutes. What a display! Themes are repeated.

"Watchtower" is uptempo with sax and drums to start. It settles after a minute as the guitar replaces the sax. And the guitar is just bonkers here as he lights up the soundscape until the sax returns after 4 minutes.

I feel the same way about their debut as I do KAYO DOT's "Choirs Of The Eye". I'm just not worthy to hear such complexity and "out there" music and no it's not all good(haha). But this sophomore album while tamer is still very avant and difficult but I'm just not nearly as impressed. So 3 stars it is.

 Venusian Summer by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.05 | 31 ratings

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Venusian Summer
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. The only thing keeping me from hitting the 5 star button is that funk fuelled opening track, the second is funky too but a much better tune. The rest is incredible to my ears so yes this is a top 15 album for me for 1975 right now. Lenny White is such a talented man and during a break from RETURN TO FOREVER he brought in some amazing musicians to record this his first solo album. I love that Patrick Gleeson from those "Mwandishi" albums is here along with many known names like Larry Young, Al DiMeola, Larry Coryell, David Sacious and more. That album cover would be perfect if the girl with the horns wasn't there. The title implies a Venus-like Summer I believe.

"Chicken-Fried Steak" is indeed funky with White adding clavinet to his drum duties. Some expressive guitar here as well. Catchy stuff and check out the organ from Jimmy Smith around 3 1/2 minutes. "Away Go Troubles Down The Drain" is also funky but the attraction for me here is the abundance of intricate sounds. Just a pleasure to really listen to this one even if I feel the remainder of this album is better. Sancious adds organ and synths to this one and we also get some guitar after a minute.

"The Venusian Summer" is a top three tune for me. The first of two sections that make up this track are filled with synths as four guys all play them and we also get sequencers and then piano late from Lenny. It's surprisingly spacey and dark. The latter is surprising given the title of the song. The second part of the song sounds completely different as we get this great sounding atmosphere as intricate sounds come and go. So good! Piano after 6 minutes followed by flute.

"Prelude To Rainbow Delta" is a short intro track to the next song. This has spacey synths and some percussion as it builds to a powerful sound full of atmosphere. It blends into "Mating Drive" a top three tune for me. It's sparse and atmospheric at first, spacey and dark. Soon it kicks in to an uptempo groove just before a minute. The lead guitar from Raymond Gomez shines here, Larry Young adds organ. Gomez is on fire before 3 minutes as he lights it up, nice bass as well. Organ to the fore after 4 minutes then it's the guitar's turn 5 1/2 minutes in. Check out the drumming to end this smoldering song. Nice.

"Prince Of The Sea" is my favourite song on here and a perfect closer. I love the guitar and here Al DiMeola and Larry Coryell put on quite the show, like a duel of sorts trading solos. Atmosphere and the sound of sea gulls to start. Soon synths I believe, then some piano and flugelhorn are added as it stays relaxed and mellow. A beat kicks in before 3 1/2 minutes along with guitar. It takes a minute but soon the guitars start to dominate. They are trading solos before 9 1/2 minutes. Oh my! It becomes a shred-fest. Nice. Sea gulls are back before 11 1/2 minutes to end it.

An incredible album that doesn't start off that well but just seems to get better as it plays out. Highly recommended to fans of Jazz/ Fusion out there. One of the classics.

 Infinity by MEIER, NICOLAS album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.50 | 2 ratings

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Infinity
Nicolas Meier Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Review originally posted at www.therocktologist.com

I first met Nicolas Meier's music when Leonardo Pavkovic from Moonjune Records sent me the album Chasing Tales, which Meier did with Peter Oxley, since then, I realized how good, experimental and classy this Swiss guitar-man is.

His playing can cover a wide variety of sounds and genres, since you will find jazz, rock, blues, Spanish and even some world music, so once you hear his compositions you may feel attracted by that diversity, and of course, you might choose your favourite Meier-style. For this album entitled "Infinity", he teams-up with two jazz monsters such as Vinnie Colaiuta and Jimmy Haslip, as well as some other great guest musicians. The album features 11 songs that make almost an hour of great instrumental music.

"The Eye of Horus" is the opening track, a wonderful piece of music that has a jazzy-feeling wonderfully complemented by some violins. "Still Beautiful" is a much calmer composition, relaxing and delicious., here the acoustic guitar is what makes us fly. "Riversides" has a kind of oriental feeling and a repetitive rhythm, but it is a wonderful track because little by little the musicians bring more and new figures, faster notes and let us feel we are walking into a vertiginous road. Great!

"Yemin" shows off Meier's skills with acoustic guitar, he has soft and delicate fingers that produce wonderful sounds so one can feel pleased while listening to him. Of course the musicians help a lot, bass, drums and violin are all played exceptionally good. "Legend" is a song Meier dedicates to Jeff Beck, that legendary man who Nicolas has been playing with for some years. It is nice to say that the compositions of this album were created while Meier was travelling around the world with his different projects, being Jeff Beck's band one of them. The interplay between musicians here is great, all of them shine and create together a truly solid piece of jazzy-oriental- spanish track.

"Tales" shows cadence on its sound within a jazzy atmosphere. Electric and acoustic guitars are greatly played here, while Haslip makes magic with his bass lines and Colaiuta shows how monstrous he is with drums. "Rose on Water" is the shortest track, a soft classical oriented track with violin as main instrument. It leads to "Flying Spirits" which starts with a soft rhythm but all of a sudden it brings faster violin sounds reminding me a bit of Mahavishnu Orchestra and some jazz fusion giants. The nuances made by guitar are beautiful and all the changes created here let us know how great composer Meier is.

"Serene" as the title suggests, is a laid-back piece with a 4/4 rhythm but with a beautiful and relaxing sound, one can close the eyes and feel incredibly satisfied. "Kismet" is an extraordinary composition that evokes oriental lands, I love how it has both fast and slow moments, vertiginous and delicates, it is one of my favourite songs here. The album finishes with "JB Top" which is the rockiest and heaviest of them all, in fact, the sound is so different from the previous tracks that one could think it would not fit in here, however, it is a nice surprise and I believe it was a wonderful chose for a closing track.

If you still don't know Nicolas Meier's work, you should change it immediately. Highly recommended!

Enjoy it!

 Mata Hati by TOHPATI ETHNOMISSION album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.01 | 12 ratings

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Mata Hati
Tohpati Ethnomission Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Review originally posted at www.therocktologist.com

Oh, what a wonderful album!

Tohpati is one of those Indonesian guitar-Gods I've recently discovered thanks to Leonardo Pavkovic from Moonjune Records, and I will always be grateful for it, because the quality and sensibility of this guitar player is amazing, his music has made me fell completely satisfied and happy to be alive. This is the second band of his band in which he is the leader, but whose other members are the perfect complement that one man need. Tohpati Ethnomissión's Matah Hati is a wonderful jazz-fusion journey that any fan from this genre and some other genres such as progressive rock or folk could love.

It starts with "Janger" and since the first notes we can notice a delicious sound made by percussion and an evident Indonesian flavour. Let me tell you that this is an instrumental album, so please, be prepared to start a wonderful journey. The song is superb, with some slow passages and some explosive moments. The guitar is amazing but I love what the other musicians do, especially the man on percussion and those flute moments. Sweet! "Tanah Emas" shows the evident talent of the bass player, either with solos or as background. This tune is pretty jazzy with some western feelings, this time.

"Pelog Rock" is an amazing, vertiginous, powerful rock/jazz/fusion/prog track, it is an big proof of how those genres can live together without being forced. The song flow perfectly in spite of its different time changes, all the instruments have their shot, but of course, as one can imagine, Tohpati's powerful solos shine. A truly amazing track! With "Mata Hati" we can take a deep breath after that previous bomb-track. Here the sound is much more relaxed and even introspective, so if you wish, let the music talk and take you to calm places.

Another contrast. After that calm track, the faster sounds, the rock and jazz-fusion that make us move our heads and body return in "Berburu", a solid and delicious composition that also bring (as most of the album) some cultural references from that rich Indonesian realm. Worth mentioning the musicianship is impressive! "Rancak" has a joyful feeling that will surely put a smile on you. The 6 minutes are full of folkish tunes made by flute and acoustic guitar, which at the same time create a jazzy scheme. "Reog" is, for some strange reason, the song I less feel connected with. Maybe it is the most experimental track of the song, and it is a great one, believe me, though I could not fall in love with it. There is a very cool drums solo, though.

"Pangkur" has a one-minute soft introduction and then the song changes and becomes more aggressive. Again, a feast of fusion can be found here, amazing strings, drums and wonderful winds gathered together in order to give us a cool musical experience. The album finishes with "Amarah" which is an amazing track that has a percussion introduction that leads to an explosion of heavy guitar riffs wonderfully accompanied by a soft flute. The band chose a pretty cool heavy tune to finish the album and let us mesmerized by this fast and addictive sound.

Friends, go and listen to his record, you will not regret. Enjoy it!

 The Stone House by WINGFIELD REUTER STAVI SIRKIS album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 2 ratings

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The Stone House
Wingfield Reuter Stavi Sirkis Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Review originally posted at www.therocktologist.com

This is one of those different albums created by some magical minds that decided to gather together in order to reach complete freedom and find a complement of their tastes, in one single day at the studio. Four musicians from the Moonjune Family spent a day at Spain, united forces and decided to do this album entitled The Stone House, which consists simply in six different improvisations that were recorded one day, while playing without a script, no previous compositions nor rehearsals, so this is the result of a moment of empathy and wizardry in which guitar monsters Mark Wingfield and Markus Stauss, shared affinities with extraordinary bass player Yaron Stavi and awesome drummer Asaf Sirkis.

'Rush' opens the album, it is a 12-minute trip in which we will find from atmospheric sounds, Crimsonian-motifs and rock elements, to jazzy nuances, psych hints and of course, some electronic textures. What the four musicians use to play on their personal projects can be found here, creating a extraordinary amalgam that let us know how capable they are to adapt to each other's likes. The piece never sounds uneven, and all of the musicians have their shot at some moment; no selfishness here. 'Four Moons' is the shortest impro here. The guys delight us with a kind of atmospheric tension that naturally flows. There are some prog hints here and spacey atmospheres, but this time Wingfield's guitar is what more attracted my attention.

'Silver' is one of my preferred pieces, I like how dynamic it is and how well they get along, seems they had been working together for years, actually it sounds like a real composition, so go figure. Didn't find it east to categorize, however, I think prog rock and jazz fusion fans would be pleased with this song and album. No boundaries can be found here, all of the musicians seem to be comfortable with what they do, which is why the music has some crescendos and climax, despite being an improvisation. Amazing! 'Fjords de Catalunya' brings the words ambient and experimental to my mind. It is a softer track but a bit darker at the same time, there are some quiet moments, maybe relaxing, but ironically, maybe disturbing. I imagine the musicians having a moment of introspection, playing with eyes closed and taking a deep breath.

With 'Tarasque' drums play with several figures, producing a kind of nervous sound that is nicely contrasted by soundscapes and guitars. The bass plays some fast notes that in moments sound as nervous as the drums, like chaotic passages in which one does not know what will happen next. The last minutes are strange, some noises and the improvisation simply vanishes. The album finishes with 'Bona Nit Se'or Rovira', which happens to be the longest track. Bass and drums mark the rhythm while guitars put the riffs and the atmospheres. The minutes pass and seem to be a new chaotic passage in which all of them share heavy sounds but then, all of a sudden it calms down and starts again. Calm for some seconds but explosive for most of the moments. The musicians are having fun, playing a nice game of improvisations, but they all are responsible of giving the listener quality sounds and forms, and believe me, they know how to do it. This final track has lots of changes, but I assure your attention will never be lost.

A very good album! This is a nice way to show how 4 minds can create interesting improvisations.

Enjoy it!

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3RD WORLD ELECTRIC Multi-National
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ARTI E MESTIERI Italy
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GURTH Spain
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VASIL HADZIMANOV BAND Serbia
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HEAD United Kingdom
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WHERE'S THE NINE Canada
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